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Monday, August 29, 2022

Mental Health Representation in Books: Anxiety

Living with anxiety can be even stranger than living with depression. Because everyone feels anxious sometimes, so how do you know if it’s normal anxiety or excessive anxiety?

Play It Again

First through, you have to recognize it is anxiety, not physical illness.

Hannah felt as if her body and her soul were shaking at different frequencies, like she could fall out of her own flesh at any moment. Her heart pounded so hard, she was worried it might actually come loose. That didn’t sound medically possible, but anxiety could be a real bitch sometimes.

Talia Hibbert, Untouchable

Because anxiety can feel like something is physically wrong; your brain can create physical symptoms.

Martin bit his lip, hard, and breathed through his nose, trying to slow down the panicky beat of his heart. The sensation wasn’t unfamiliar. He’d just never realized what this was before, that a person could have tiny little bursts of terror from only a few words.

R Cooper, His Mossy Boy

Even knowing what is happening doesn’t make it easier to cope, because you don’t have control over it.

Simon wished the floor would open up and swallow him. He sucked in a tight breath through nostrils narrowed with panic and squeezed his eyes shut tight so he couldn’t see himself be seen.

Roan Parrish, Better Than People

Conventionally Yours

You have to try and pay attention to how you feel, so you can find the things that cause problems—that set off your anxiety.

(T)alking on the phone gave him enough anxiety as it was. Never knowing whether a call might turn nasty made him dread it every time he was given a ring.

Aidan Wayne, Play It Again

Even when you know what it is, even when you have tools to deal with it, it still doesn’t go away.

That was the thing about anxiety— worries over whether to take the medication and when could be worse than the primary symptoms sometimes.

Annabeth Albert, Conventionally Yours

Like depression, anxiety feels like something you should be able to deal with—to control—with willpower alone.

“(W)hat if you’d gone to Sidney’s and said you were super anxious and couldn’t do the show in that exact moment?”

“But I’d said I would.”

“I know, but you… couldn’t.” She’d gone all gentle. “You had a panic attack. It’s not like you could just reschedule it for when it was more convenient.”

“Sometimes I can cover it up for a while.”

Kris Ripper, The Love Study

The Love Study

But that’s not how mental health works.

There are things you can do.

He cut off his thought spiral and pictured windshield wipers clearing the troubling images from his mind.

Roan Parrish, Best Laid Plans

Tricks you can use to redirect your brain.

Cooper felt the discomfort that had been prickling at the base of his skull since the market bloom across his skin. You don’t belong here. He told that voice to fuck off

Charlie Adhara, Thrown to the Wolves

Even physical things like exercise to burn off what feels like excess energy.

(T)he high school therapist who told him exercise might help reduce his anxiety, about consequently becoming obsessed with exercise.

Alison Cochrun, The Charm Offensive

Thrown To The Wolves

To move when remaining still is overwhelming.

He was barely holding himself together and had enough nervous energy running through his body to fuel a walk to Sussex and back. He didn’t think he could take being cooped up in a carriage.

Cat Sebastian, The Lawrence Browne Affair

But even with tricks, you still doubt yourself.

Why? What the hell about him had Park seen and thought, Oh yes, anxiety-ridden loner with a temper sharper than a serpent’s tooth and a deep-seated fear of change whose longest successful relationship is with an equally judgmental cat? Swoon. It seemed too improbable for words.

Charlie Adhara, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Because the things you believe about yourself may be irrational, but they are still things you believe.

It was as if he thought he only had one chance and he had to find the right idea, the perfect idea, before he began. As if he thought I might not get him another box, and another and another, until he’d created every single display he might want.

Roan Parrish, Raze

Best Laid Plans

You can’t help yourself.

“It’s hard for me to understand why anyone wouldn’t want you in their life.”

I snorted. “Have you met me?”

“Please don’t laugh this off. I mean it.”

“I know. It’s just easier to push people away than watch them leave.” The words hung there, and I wished I could suck them back into my mouth.

Alexis Hall, Boyfriend Material

You just have to remind yourself that you can keep going.

I nodded and told myself the thing that I knew was true: This cannot actually kill you. Sometimes it helped.

Roan Parrish, Riven

One day at a time.

“People like to throw around words like closure and forgiveness, but I’ve long suspected that’s because they don’t want to admit how often healing is cruelly arbitrary. Some things just hurt until they don’t anymore and no one can tell you why, so they pretend you must have gotten closure.”

Charlie Adhara, Cry Wolf

Because it cannot actually kill you. Even when it feels like it’s trying.



988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Call or text 988


Veterans Crisis Line Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255

Here’s Why Your Anxiety Can Cause Some Pretty Gnarly Physical Symptoms

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety: How Does It Feel?

How to Help Someone with Anxiety (John Hopkins)

Tips for Living With Anxiety (WebMD)

Anxiety Overview (VA)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (ADAA)

Anxiety Disorders: Overview (NIH)



Poisoned PrimroseBig Bad Wolf series by Charlie Adhara, main character (Contemporary Fantasy): The Wolf at the Door (2018), The Wolf at Bay (2018), Thrown to the Wolves (2019), Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing (2020), Cry Wolf (2021)

Conventionally Yours (2020) Annabeth Albert, main character (Contemporary Romance)

The Charm Offensive (2021) Alison Cochrun, main character (Contemporary Romance)

Vincent’s Thanksgiving Date (2014) R Cooper, main character (Contemporary Romance)

His Mossy Boy (2017) R Cooper (Beings in Love) main character (Contemporary Fantasy)

Jericho Candelario’s Gay Debut (2018) R Cooper, parent Contemporary (Contemporary Romance)

After the Scrum (2014) Dahlia Donovan (Sin Bin series) main character (Contemporary Romance)

Poisoned Primrose (2020) Dahlia Donovan (Motts Cold Case series) main character (Contemporary Mystery)

London Calling series by Alexis Hall, main character (Contemporary Romance): Boyfriend Material (2020), Husband Material (2022)

Untouchable (2018) Talia Hibbert (Ravenswood) main character (Contemporary Romance)

Work for It (2019) Talia Hibbert, main character (Contemporary Romance)

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (2020) Talia Hibbert (Brown Sisters) main character (Contemporary Romance)

Stalked by Shadows (2019) Lissa Kasey (Simply Crafty) main character (Contemporary Fantasy)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (2017) Mackenzi Lee, main character (Historical Fantasy)

The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks (2021) Mackenzi Lee, main character (Historical Fantasy)

After the Wedding (2018) Courtney Milan (Worth Saga) main character (Historical Romance)

Invitation to the Blues (2018) Roan Parrish (Small Change) main character (Contemporary Romance)

Rend (2018) Roan Parrish (Riven) main character (Contemporary Romance)

Better than People (2020) Roan Parrish (Garnet Run) main character (Contemporary Romance)

Best Laid Plans (2021) Roan Parrish (Garnet Run) main character (Contemporary Romance)

The Love Study (2929) Kris Ripper, main character (Contemporary Romance)

To Charm a Naughty Countess (2014) Theresa Romain (The Matchmaker Trilogy) main character (Historical Romance)

A Delicate Deception (2019) Cat Sebastian (Regency Imposter) main character (Historical Romance)

The Lawrence Browne Affair (2017) Cat Sebastian (The Turner Series) main character (Historical Romance)

Play It Again (2019) Aidan Wayne, main character (Contemporary Romance)



988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Call or text 988


Mental Health Representation in Books: Depression
Mental Health Representation in Books: Grief
Mental Health Representation in Books: PTSD
Mental Health Representation in Books: Addiction and Eating Disorders


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